2018 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL JURY
Dr. Wilma Mosley Clopton's entire life has been a quest to explore and share the historical contributions of African American Mississippians. A film producer/director and author, Clopton is the creator of NMHS Unlimited Film Productions, whose mission is to highlight the significant influence of African-Americans in Mississippi through film, print and lectures.
With her focus on short docs, Clopton has produced 10 films, 4 books, a children's coloring book and a play. Her most recent books include "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," honoring Mississippi African Americans who served in the Civil War; and "Jessie, One Woman, One Vision," a memoir of her mother's accomplishments.
Dr. Clopton lives in Jackson, MS.
Lynda Lesley’s destiny was pretty evident when, as a toddler, she sang ad jingles instead of nursery rhymes – and sold her sister on the idea that playing “commercial” was more fun than playing “house.”
Today, Lynda is still playing “commercial” … but now, she makes her livelihood doing it.
As VP/Creative Director for The Cirlot Agency, Lynda concepts, writes and executes creative work ranging from brochures and print ads to television commercials and interactive media for regional, national and international accounts. In her 26 years at The Cirlot Agency, Lynda has helped garner hundreds of awards for the Agency’s clients, including Telly’s, Addy’s, Lanterns, Crystals, etc.
An avid fan of film and cinema, Lynda acted as co-host on “Flick Picks,” a movie review show in Mobile, Alabama.
Lynda is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and holds a bachelor of arts degree in advertising with a minor in marketing.
Robert Lesley holds a degree in Radio, TV and Film (Film Emphasis) from the University of Southern Mississippi. For several years post-graduation, he worked in television news on the Mississippi Coast and in Jackson. At one time, he was the movie reviewer for WLOX on the Mississippi Coast. To satisfy his “acting bug,” Robert has performed on stage and in film, in years past.
Robert is currently Director of Public Affairs for Atmos Energy in Mississippi, where he handles a variety of tasks, ranging from media relations to the company’s Customer Advisory Board. He is also responsible for producing internal and external video projects within the company.
Before joining Atmos, Robert worked in media relations for Entergy, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and the City of Jackson.
Today he lives in Madison County with his wife Lynda (also a 2018 judge). They have one son, Alex, who (like father, like son) also holds a film degree from USM.
Dixon McDowell earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Cinematography at Southern Illinois University. He taught filmmaking and screenwriting at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1989 until until his retirement in 2015.
Throughout his academic career Mr. McDowell maintained an active creative life. He wrote several original screenplays including “In Morning Calm,” which won the MGM/UA Screenplay Competition. He produced a number of film projects including “Living with Disabilities,” a six-part series for the Mississippi Developmental Disabilities Council.
Mr. McDowell was also instrumental in the formation of the Mississippi Film and Video Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which facilitates indigenous filmmaking within the state. He currently resides in Monmouth, Oregon.
Fayette, Mississippi native Ritchie Montgomery has over 150 acting credits to his career and counting. Currently he is in Ethan Hawke's movie BLAZE, Angela Shelton's "Heart Baby," and "The Eagle and the Albatross." He has a recurring guest star role in Zake Galilinakis's "Baskets," Jason Bateman's "Ozark," and he can be seen in "Kidnap," "Geostorm," "Magnificent 7," and "True Detective" to name a few. Ritchie is on the SAG-AFTRA guild's board of directors representing the great state of Mississippi. After living in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years, Ritchie now resides in Natchez!
Astin Rocks! is a Writer, Performance Artist, and Award Winning Filmmaker hailing from Atlanta, GA via Jackson, MS. Her critically-acclaimed directorial debut, Letters from a Transient, premiered in 2015, receiving critical acclaim and accolades from media outlets including ForHarriet: Shine. She has won awards for producing the experimental drama Vocabulary of the Mysteries, including Audience Favorite at both Brooklyn and BlackStar Film Festivals.
Astin authored debut article "Size Does Matter... Especially When You're Skinny,” and appeared on public access TV show, Jackson's Finest, as a featured poet, reciting original poetry, "Bad Boys," "Hips," and "Naked." She is currently working on her new project, Love Soliloquy, an audio/visual collaboration with producer Loki Antiphony. She offers her services as a Casting Associate, Story Editor, and Production Coordinator.
When she doesn't indulge in the film world, Astin passionately organizes events in her community. www.whyastinrocks.com
Writer/Director Diego Velasco was born in the US but raised in Caracas, Venezuela. His first feature La Hora Cero (The Zero Hour) broke all Venezuelan box office records, making it the highest grossing Venezuelan film of all time. It has won over 35 awards in festivals around the globe, and The Lincoln Center’s Film Comment Magazine calls it “rare and special: an intelligent, finely constructed and wonderfully acted feature with a subversive message and a sting in the tail.” The film secured distribution in the US and Latin America and most recently was acquired by Campanario Entertainment for an exclusive Mexican remake.
In November of 2011, Velasco was featured as one the Ten Mover and Reshapers of Latin American Cinema by Variety Magazine. Most recently he directed his first US project: Cybergeddon, an action/thriller about hacking and computer crimes from CSI creator Anthony Zuicker. True to its cyber nature, the film, which stars Missy Peregrym and Olivier Martinez, had a day and date release in more than twenty five countries via Yahoo! as part of their new digital content platform.
Velasco is currently working on his next feature, The Whistler, a thriller based on the Venezuelan legend of the same name to be produced by Paper Chase films, and is currently set to direct “VICTIM321” written by Mike McGrale for Millenium Films.
Velasco is a proud Alumni of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Demetrius Wren (writer/director) is known for his deeply-rooted character stories, from his play about African-American families in Mississippi, Legends, Myths and Hieroglyphs (called by Christopher Durang, "one of the most original scripts he’s read"), to Streetball, a documentary intimately following the players in South Africa’s homeless street soccer leagues.
He has made a Virtual Reality film with the United Nations, documenting the stories after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and runs the production company, Two Kids with a Camera through which he has directed the feature films Saudade? and Moon and Sun as well as many shorts and episodics.
Demetrius serves as a visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching "Film Topics: Feature Film Production" and is the creative head of VR and digital experience designer at FreemanXP, the world's largest brand experience creative agency. He is currently in production on his newest narrative feature, Rehabilitation of the Hill, due out in 2018. He lives in Los Angeles.